North America

Data Privacy: What to Watch in 2020

January 28th marks Data Privacy Day which commemorates the signing of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data.  This international treaty is the first of its kind to address privacy and data protection.

Strong privacy and cybersecurity safeguards are paramount to the success of companies and the consumers they serve.  These issues are so critical they took center stage at the annual Consumer Technology Association’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held earlier this month where tech companies of all sizes promoted their “privacy first” products and services.

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Insights U.S.-China Trade Dispute Easing: “Phase One” Deal and Other Tariff Updates

U.S. Plans to Reduce Tariffs

On December 18, 2019, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) officially signaled the first real respite in the ongoing trade war with China by publishing a Notice of Modification of Action[1] to suspend a planned 15% duty on certain products from China that was originally scheduled to take effect on December 15, 2019. This early Christmas present came after nearly two years of the USTR extending and increasing tariffs on Chinese goods pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301”). Read more…

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2019 BIS Enforcement Actions: Lessons for 2020 and Beyond

In 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) entered into six settlement agreements with companies (not including individuals) for export violations of the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). Through December, enforcement actions were brought against Multiwire Laboratories, Ltd. (“Multiwire”), Jaguar Imports, LLC (“Jaguar Imports”), AW-Tronics LLC (“AW-Tronics”), Arrowtronic, LLC (“Arrowtronic”), Cotran Corporation (“Cotran”), and Ghaddar Machinery Co., SAL (“Ghaddar”). Read more…

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Ensure Import Compliance with Spot-Check Audits of Carrier Billing Statements

Very few words evoke feelings of fear and loathing quite like the word “audit.” But Compliance professionals understand that auditing internal trade compliance processes is a necessary method of maintaining healthy trade controls and avoiding costly penalties.

Performing an audit does not have to be a major undertaking: sometimes a focused spot check can be very revealing. For example, if your company relies on a common carrier such as FedEx Corporation, United Parcel Service, or DHL International to take care of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) import clearances, consider reviewing the monthly billing statement on a regular basis. Read more…

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Planning for 2020 Trade Under Trump

NAFTA 2.0 or the USMCA

Since President Trump took office in January of 2017, he has shown his desire to follow through with trade policies that were a central part of his campaign. After the President officially withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”), he immediately focused on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). Read more…

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Proposed Regulations Set to Expand Authority of CFIUS

This article first appeared in the Newsletter of the International Law Section (www.ilstexas.org) of the State Bar of Texas, and is reproduced with the Section’s permission. This article was written prior to the two final regulations issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on January 13, 2020.

  1. Introduction: New Regulations

On September 17, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) issued two proposed rules that would expand the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”).[1] The proposed regulations are implemented pursuant to the Foreign Investment Review Modernization Act of 2018 (“FIRRMA”), which was signed into law in August 2018. If enacted, these new proposed regulations could have major implications on foreign investment and real estate transactions in the United States and investors and companies must be aware of such potential impact. Read more…

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CONTROL AND IMMIGRATION AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS

The intersection of immigration, anti-discrimination, and U.S. export control laws can be confusing for employers. But recent settlement agreements between the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), and multinational corporations and large international law firms demonstrate that the DOJ will not tolerate employers discriminating against non-U.S. persons. This article will provide an overview of the intersection, and friction between, U.S. immigration, anti-discrimination, and export control laws and regulations. Read more…

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DOL Issues Final Rule Addressing Joint Employer Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act Continue Reading…

On Thursday, January 16, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) published in the Federal Register the much-anticipated Final Rule regarding joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  This rule completes the rulemaking process initiated in early April of last year, when WHD published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), which we discussed here.

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Health Plan Sponsors Welcome Repeal of Cadillac Tax: Opportunities and Uncertainty Lie Ahead – SECURE Act Series

Sponsors of health plans have long known that the only constant in life is change. In 2020, that is surely to remain true.

Ding-Dong! The Cadillac Tax Is Dead!

On December 20, 2019, as part of the year-end appropriations bill, the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) so-called 40% “Cadillac Tax” on high-cost health plans was finally, after much lobbying and other efforts by sponsors and health care payers, put to an end with a full repeal. The “Cadillac Tax” was currently scheduled to take effect in 2022 (after two delays), and would have taxed employer-sponsored plans worth more than $10,200 for “self-only” coverage and $27,500 for other coverage (in 2018 and would have been indexed for inflation in future years). The tax was initially intended to help reduce health care costs and pay for the ACA.

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Brigitte Garceau’s Community Involvement Gets Recognized

January 15, 2020 — For several years now, Brigitte Garceau has selflessly devoted her energy to the West Island’s philanthropic organizations. For instance, she is legal counsel and a board member of the West Island Women’s Shelter, and has helped create its “Pumps & Pearls” annual gala.

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